Day 139 Kitsap Memorial State Park to Port Angeles, Washington: The Black Hole - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

September 16, 2011

Day 139 Kitsap Memorial State Park to Port Angeles, Washington: The Black Hole

We rose with first light and spent some time trying to find a washroom that was not locked. Staff had helpfully locked about six of eight washrooms, with no indication on the locked ones that there might somewhere be an open one.

We had just finished this research project and were getting ready to take down the tent when a pickup rolled into the parking area and a man in a plaid flannel shirt and jeans strolled out and over towards our site. Thinking he could be a park ranger, we were gearing up to tell him what we thought of the restroom locking policies when he said "Grampies on the Go?"

The man turned out to be Bill Abbey (Crazyguy: Kitsap_Bill). He explained that his wife Cindy, in particular, had been following our blog, and had exclaimed that we were in Kitsap Park. So Bill drove over, and offered to take us for breakfast. We hesitated, but Bill pointed out that there was no food ahead of us for miles. That clinched it. We abandoned the bikes, the tent, our stuff, and piled into the pickup!

Bill took us back to Poulsbo and, as it turns out, to the same mall where we had bought our chicken for last night's supper. He introduced us to his group of friends and bought us two nice breakfasts. This was the second service club meeting we have sat with on the trip. Their work is admirable. At this one,for example, money was approved for a parenting course called Love and Logic and for a fund to provide swimming lessons for local children. The members will contribute and fund raise to support things like this. It's good.

We got to talk to Bill about all sorts of bike touring topics. Bill also knew the route ahead of us very well. He wrote out for us a series of tips, including which side roads to take to avoid the heavy traffic on route 101, the existence of the the Olympic Discovery Trail from Sequim to Port Angeles, how to avoid wasting time following certain parts of the trail, and of course the need to stop for a photo at Fat Smitty's in Discovery Bay.

We followed these tips carefully, and they made a big difference in our enjoyment of the route.

Our breakfast spot - back beside the Albertson's
Heart 0 Comment 0
With Bill Abbey's Kiwanis group in Poulsbo
Heart 0 Comment 0
Bill Abbey
Heart 0 Comment 0

When we left with Bill to go back to the bikes, the truck was loaded with two donated sculptural pieces that would be auctioned at a fund raiser.

The bench for the Kiwanis auction
Heart 0 Comment 0

We quickly packed up the tent and head off toward the Hood Canal.

Hood Canal floating bridge
Heart 0 Comment 0

The Hood Canal is not a canal per se, but a fjord:

The Hood Canal
Heart 0 Comment 0
All about the Hood Canal
Heart 0 Comment 0

Immediately after the canal we cut off onto the first of Bill's proposed side roads. This significantly improved the views while cutting the highway noise. Here is some of what we saw:

A view from our route
Heart 0 Comment 0
Bill directed us to some wonderful side roads
Heart 0 Comment 0
These geese are enjoying fresh apples
Heart 0 Comment 0
This is a beautiful area
Heart 0 Comment 0
Arbutus trees, of course, are native here
Heart 0 Comment 0
Yes, it is scenic
Heart 0 Comment 0

Discovery Bay brought us Fat Smitty's. It may not be clear from these photos, but here is a business that is playing on jingoistic nationalism to sell burgers. There are Wake Up America an many similar signs, a total red white and blue color scheme, and lots about Supporting our Troops. We found it an amusing parody, but also discomfiting.

Also discomfiting was what I got when I ordered the special featured on the front page of the menu - the rib sandwich, for $9. This turned out to be a chopped pressed product almost identical to Mcdonald's McRib, only at twice the price. That's free enterprise (highly supported by Fat Smitty) for you - suckers beware. Still the decor and hype was worth it, just for the fun factor.

At Fat Smitty's
Heart 0 Comment 0
Bill pointed out that every cyclist takes a picture of Fat Smitty's.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Yes, Steve at Fat Smitty's
Heart 0 Comment 0

Like a magpie picking up shiny objects, I pick up electronics. Here is my latest trophy (but Dodie makes me throw them all away):

Non functioning ear phones to go with all the non functioning iPhones I have picked up.
Heart 0 Comment 0

While in Seattle we picked up what must be a weekly newspaper called The Stranger. It had an article on the politics of bike lanes and other non-automobile transport in this area. The article cites the death of a woman last week along Highway 112. She was wearing a helmet and hit from behind while wearing a neon yellow safety jacket. Gulp. Further, there have been 19 cyclists and 238 pedestrians killed in King County in the last ten years, with another 423 cyclists and 1656 pedestrians sent to hospital.

Not being statisticians, the authors do not give these figures as per capita, or in relation to miles driven, cycled, and walked; number of bikes or pedestrians out there, etc. On the other hand, not being a statistician, Dodie points out that not a single person should have to die for the crime of walking or cycling for any reason and certainly not as part of some "rate" of killings, no matter how small.

The authors are with Dodie, and go on to lament the often violent reaction of politicians and motorists to proposals for bike lanes, levies for public transit, and the like. They correctly recount the amazing subsidies that society has afforded the motorist, up to and including basically paving the entire landscape.

Things are so different here compared to what we found in Montreal and Quebec. It would be good for activists in this area to find out how the miraculous transformation happened in that province. Whatever it was, it is sure needed in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, -- hell, everywhere!

Frustration over opposition to bikes lanes, public transit.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Illustration that was part of the article
Heart 0 Comment 0

We continued on side roads, thoroughly enjoying our second to last day, in what to us after four months is a "new" environment. We spotted this mailbox holder too:

A unique mailbox holder
Heart 0 Comment 0

I was sorry that Glenn was not following this route, so that I could say "Bet Glenn did't photograph this one!"

We finally reached Sequim Bay and quickly found the start of the Olympic Discovery Trail

Sequim Bay
Heart 0 Comment 0
This is a wonderful trail
Heart 0 Comment 0

The trail, of course, passes by the Bay, which has apparently been the recipient of a major restoration effort. There were two displays explaining what has been done:

Sequim Bay restoration, as described in trail side display
Heart 0 Comment 0
Restoration, part II
Heart 0 Comment 0

The trail eventually enters a State Park, which, like the one we stayed at, offers hiker/biker sites. We almost stopped here, because the day was getting on. We pretended to think about it, but we knew the answer instantly: we never stop while we can still see!

Sequim State Park- has good hiker/biker sites
Heart 0 Comment 0
One of two railway trestle restoration projects
Heart 0 Comment 0
Trestle #1
Heart 0 Comment 0
Trestle #2
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Olympic mountains form a backdrop for these cows.
Heart 0 Comment 0

As we proceeded down the trail we noted many places where we could have stealth camped. In some spots there were picnic tables, and there were a few porta potties around too. We were thinking about it, but the problem was that we could still see. Finally as the light was failing we came to a likely spot, but it was occupied by a cyclist who was heading to California. We didn't want to bug him (and vice versa) so we carried on.

Now the light was really going, and matters were not helped when the trail descended into a deep deep ravine, with a covered bridge at the bottom. Here it was really dark:

We continue on the trail too late. Here Dodie is going into a covered bridge in the "black hole" - a deep ravine that needed either extreme braking or walking to get in to.
Heart 0 Comment 0

We eventually emerged onto Highway 101. The trail continued, but we could no longer see well enough to follow it. Out on the highway, heavy traffic zoomed along. We had our flashers and high viz vests, but it really was an unsafe situation. We clung to the side of the road, and the sidewalk when there was one.

The first motel we found (the Sportsman) looked a bit scary. We carried on, and reached the Super 8 - No Vacancy. So we washed up at McDonalds, about 4 km from the ferry. This is being written there, now at 11:40 p.m. We looked at the motels available closer in, on the net. They seem to want over $100 and may or may not have vacancies. The Super 8 was full due to a boat show in town, plus a project that is removing the Elwha dam as part of a river restoration scheme.

When this McDonalds closes in twenty minutes the Grampies will become homeless people. But then, "Home is Where the Bike Is", right Sue Gray?

With no room at the Super 8, we set up our office at McDonalds while preparing to walk the streets until morning.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 95 km (59 miles)
Total: 7,563 km (4,697 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0